aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Maybe you should write a memoir - just be sure to make it true!

According to an article in USA Today, memoirs are still hot, hot, hot. "Publishers Lunch, counts 295 memoirs signed by publishers last year, compared with 227 debut novels and 214 memoirs in 2006. Memoirs accounted for 12.5% of non-fiction deals, up from 10% in 2006 and 9% in 2005."

BUT, if you're going to write a memoir, it should probably be true. Today, an article in the New York Times, reveals that a woman who now lives about two hours south of me, whose memoir has been favorably reviewed everyplace, lied, lied, lied.

The NY Times writes that "In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods. The problem is that none of it is true. Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.""

Her defense? Giving voice to the voiceless. “I was in a position where at one point people said you should speak for us because nobody else is going to let us in to talk." Puhleeze.

The story unravelled after she was profiled in the NYT's House and Home section and her sister called the paper to tell them that her "memoirs" were a lie. She wasn't a drug runner. She didn't get a gun for her 14th birthday. She didn't buy a cemetary plot for herself as a teenager. So I guess that's another little tip: make sure your family will back you up.

So if you want to write the next Eat, Pray, Love or The Glass Castle, be sure to at least not make it up out of whole cloth.

Read more about a dozen new memoir titles, including juicy quotes and excerpts. [Note that this round-up includes Love and Consequences.]

Full disclosure: I have had some bad things in my life, but not enough to make a book out of. How about you?

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